US Press: pick of the papers

The ten must-read opinion pieces from today's US papers.

1. Putting Chicago into detox (Chicago Tribune)

For aldermen addicted to binge spending, former White House chief of staff Mayor Rahm Emanuel's rigorous budget is one step toward recovery.

2. Tied up in knots (Washington Post)

What's the GOP's favorite solution? asks E.J. Dionne. Doing nothing.

3. How to Stop the Drop in Home Values (New York Times)

The only real solution to plummeting home values is to permanently reduce the mortgage debt hanging over America, writes Martin S. Feldstein.

4. Education: Too much testing? (Los Angeles Times)

This editorial argues that Gov. Jerry Brown was wrong to veto SB 547, but he made important points about the love of learning.

5. The price of privacy (Boston Globe)

Juliette Kayyem asks: What's in a name? When it's an FBI source, quite a lot. The BG, its competitors, readers, and a lot of media critics are now arguing over the Globe's decision to report the name of the tipster who led the FBI to fugitive James "Whitey'' Bulger.

6. Can Occupy Wall Street give progressives a lift? (Washington Post)

OWS must raise the consciousness of backsliding congressional Democrats who have decided that, unlike the president, they do not believe that "the rich" begin at household incomes of $250,000, says George F. Will.

7. Henninger: The Unsinkable Mitt Romney (Wall Street Journal)

According to Danniel Henninger, this candidate will have to be pushed a lot harder to make him a good president.

8. Pop goes the bubble of Obama's phantom green jobs (San Francisco Chronicle)

Before the Senate failed to pass his American Jobs Act Tuesday, President Obama made a last-ditch speech to talk up his troubled bill. But not once did Obama mention "green jobs" - his erstwhile jobs of the future, Debra J. Saunders reminds readers.

9. Life-and-death power of AIDS funding (Politico)

Elton John and Senator Bill Nelson pen an op-ed, arguing that reducing the medication offered by government assistance programs is shortsighted.

10. Fight ban on single-sex schools (USA Today)

Christina Hoff Sommers feels that eight misguided academics are meddling with public education.

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Listen up, Enda Kenny: why two Irish women are livetweeting their trip for an abortion

With abortion illegal in the Republic of Ireland, many women must travel to Britain to obtain the procedure. One woman, and her friend, are documenting the journey.

An Irish woman and her friend are live-tweeting their journey to Manchester to procure an abortion.

Using the handle @twowomentravel, the pair are documenting each stage of their trip online, from an early flight to the clinic waiting room. Each tweet includes the handle @endakennyTD, tagging in the Taoiseach.

The 8th amendment of the Irish constitution criminalises abortion in the Republic of Ireland, including in cases of rape. Women who wish to access the procedure must either do so illegally – using, for instance, pills acquired online or by post – or travel to a country where abortion is legal.

As the 1967 Abortion Act is not in place in Northern Ireland, Irish women often travel to the UK mainland, especially if seeking a surgical abortion. Figures show that in 2014, an average of ten women a day made the trip. The same year, 1017 abortion pills were seized by Irish customs.

Women who undertake the journey do so at a substantial cost. Aside from the cost of travel, they must pay for the procedure itself: a private abortion in England can cost over £500, and Irish women, including those born and resident in Northern Ireland, are not eligible for NHS treatment. Overnight accommodation may also need to be arranged.

The earlier an abortion is obtained, the easier the procedure. Yet many women are forced to delay while they obtain funds, or borrow money to pay for the trip. 

Women’s charity and abortion providers Marie Stopes provide specific advice for the flight back which reveals the increased health risks Irish women are exposed to. The stigma surrounding termination may also dissuade women from seeking help if complications arise once they have arrived home.

Abortion is a relatively minor procedure in medical terms. A recent survey quoted in Time magazine suggests that 95% of women who have had an abortion say they do not regret it.

It is not surprising, then, that calls to repeal the 8th amendment are increasing in volume. Campaigns like the Artists’ Campaign to Repeal the 8th (to which this author is a signatory) as well as the Abortion Rights Campaign and REPEAL have mobilised to lobby for a change in the law, and in some cases help fund women forced to travel.

Women’s testimony is an important part of campaigning. Abortion is stigmatised across these isles, but the criminal aspect in Ireland makes the experience of abortion particularly difficult to discuss. Actions like @twowomentravel and groups such as the X-ile Project, which photographs women who have had the procedure, help to normalise abortion, showing a part of life often hidden from view (but which plenty of women experience).

The hope is that Irish women will soon be able to access abortions which are like those available to women in England: free, safe, and legal.

The Abortion Support Network help pay for women from the island of Ireland access abortion. Their fundraising page is here.

Stephanie Boland is digital assistant at the New Statesman. She tweets at @stephanieboland